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Bonding over Baseball

06/30/2012 4:16 PM

Article By: Lauren Leary

COTUIT, Mass. — Many people can easily pinpoint their favorite childhood memories from summertime on Cape Cod. For Jack Greene, one of nine Cotuit Kettleer batboys, it’s all about the Cape League bus rides.

     An eighth grader at Barnstable High School, Greene has been a batboy for the Kettleers for three seasons - working at roughly ten games each year, but attending nearly all with his family. His job requires him to collect the bats, throw balls out to the players and give umpires new baseballs. Yet, what Greene enjoys the most occurs in the moments before and after the games, and even on days when there are no Cape League games to be played at all.

     “I like hanging out with the players,” Greene said. “They’re really nice and it’s a good time. On their off days they have a lot of free time so we get to play Wiffle Ball and other games. We can just have fun together.”

     Greene finds that the bus rides to away games are his favorite parts of being a batboy because he can spend time with the players as they prepare to play. In his opinion, there are no noteworthy downsides to this job. Greene is so committed to the Kettleers that he overextends all of his duties as much as he can and even brings gum and sunflower seeds to games for the coaches to share. He also tries to arrive early to home games so he can offer extra assistance to the team.

     The Greene family has hosted Cape League players in their Marston Mills home for the past three years as well. This year, Cotuit outfielder Tony Kemp (Vanderbilt) is staying with them for the season. According to Michele Greene, Jack’s mother, the most rewarding aspect of being a host family is the bond both Jack - and the family as a whole - creates with the player.

     “The best part is just getting to know the player and seeing how quickly they become a party of your family,” she said. “Tony hasn’t even been here for two weeks and he already fits in really great with us.”

     The relationship between host families and their players also creates a support system for the athletes while they’re on the field.

     “We look forward to going to Tony’s games and look forward to seeing how well he’s doing,” M. Greene continued. “He’s just a great guy.”

     The strength of the relationships that host families build and maintain with their player even after they’ve departed is one portion of the Cape League that is especially unique.

     “In the past we’ve met some of their families,” she said. “We haven’t met Tony’s family yet but we have kept in touch with a couple of the families from the past, which has been really nice.”

     As the bonds between host families and players continues to grow throughout the season, hope that the latter’s team will make it to the playoffs also grows. In the Greene family’s case in particular, they hope the Cotuit Kettleers and their batboys can enjoy bus rides together far into the postseason.